Valencia workers surprised at electrical training dummy hung from pole

A dummy body hangs from a telephone pole inside a Southern California Edison facility off of Rye Canyon Road in Valencia. Local business owners reported its presence to the Signal on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

The sight of a figure, clad in burlap and strung up on electrical wires, surprised employees of a Valencia firm when they showed up for work Thursday.

“It was creepy and eerie,” said Jennifer Sherman who showed up for work at the Al Hirth Machining Inc. only to be jolted by the creepy sight.

“We didn’t know what it was but we took pictures of it hanging there,” she said.

And, that’s how the mystery remained for most of Thursday until phone calls placed to Southern California Edison confirmed that the life-like body of a woman was actually a dummy used in the training of Edison workers.

“We have a 180 to 200 pound dummy that we use for training and, specifically, for ‘hurt man’ rescues,”  Southern California Edison spokesman Robert Villegas told The Signal Thursday afternoon.

For employees who work inside buildings on Rye Canyon Road near The Old Road, however, the distant view north from the back of each of their respective firms was that of a woman hanging from a utility pole inside the Edison substation.

“I can understand how it would freak some people out,” Villegas said.

After speaking to Edison’s manager in charge of the training, Villegas said he was told that the manager left the dummy in place after a day of training so that it could be used again for training the next day.

“The manager used it late into the afternoon and decided to leave it there for the next day,” he said. “After today, the manager said he would try to ensure that it (dummy) is taken down every night.”

Villegas pointed out that the utility pole and wires surrounding the dummy were themselves fake.

“We use dummy poles, dummy wires, as practice – as though it was the real world,” he said.

“The idea is to rescue a person who has become incapacitated, de-energize the line and then go up and bring that person safely down,” he said.

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